Many Agile teams focus on Velocity as their measure of progress. They build burn-up charts to track it over time and make it the focus of much of their discussion during Sprint Planning and Retrospectives. Is the strong focus on this metric truly in line with the principles of Agile Software Development?

Join Cheezy and Ardita as they lead us through a hands on workshop to explore this question. In this workshop you will discover how a focus on Value first, instead of Velocity, changes how the team approaches the work to be completed. Through a series of structured activities you will work with a Story Map for a fictitious project and assign value to the discovered stories. You will learn the practices and skills necessary to track Earned Value on your project and also learn the valuable lesson on how to discover what not to build. The outcome will be a set of new skills that you can take back with you and immediately apply to your current team development planning efforts. This session will be fun and educational. This is one workshop you don't want to miss.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Here is an outline for the talk:

10 minutes: Quick introduction of who we are. We will start the presentation by introducing the practice of Story Mapping as a tool to create the product/project backlog. We will explain the concepts of timelines, priorities, goals / activities / stories and user / personas. As a part of this introduction, we will walk them through a completed story map for a given project.

15 minutes: We will introduce the practice of Earned Business Value. We will introduce tools like "$100 allocation", "the value point game", and the "Kano model". These models will also be handed out to all attendees. We will also provide a list of questions and techniques that can be used when talking with the product owner and stakeholders to help them focus on the true value of each story. Out of the three models introduced, we will focus on the Value Point one. We'll introduce a light-weight approach to assign value to the activities. Once the activities have an assigned value, the participants will learn how to carry that value and distribute it across the stories that roll up to the activity.

15 minutes: Using the Story Map explained above and the Value Point technique, the participants will assign value to their activities and stories. Finally, they should make a quick pass through the stories and perform a T-shirt sizing of the stories.

5 minutes: We will introduce the attendees with how to use the value assigned to stories to identify a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

20 minutes: We will tell the teams what their velocity is and walk them through identifying what stories were planned and completed in the first sprint. We will also capture the amount of value delivered by using a simple graph (Value/Sprint). We will ask the teams to do the same thing two more times completing the simulation of three (or more) sprints. They will be keeping track of the value delivered at the end of each sprint using the graph. We will see a trend of delivering less value each sprint.

15 minutes: In the final section we will talk about two items. The first one is knowing when to stop development. We do this by understanding that we will continue to deliver less value each sprint while the overall cost of delivery remains the same. Eventually, we no longer want to spend such high amounts to get such low return on investment (ROI). Finally, we want to discuss the effect of scaling this practice across multiple projects. Making decisions on what projects (or portions of projects) to work on based on value delivered allows us to maximize our strategic return on investment.

10 minutes: Questions / Answers


Learning Outcome

  • How to apply Earned Business Value to a product backlog. Tools and techniques that help one determine how to assign business value to user stories. How to determine / what to include in a minimum viable product. How to determine what should not be included in a product. How to apply Earned Business Value across a portfolio of projects.

Target Audience

Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Team members that wish to learn new techniques for Agile Planning and prioritization

schedule Submitted 6 years ago